Blindness is an all-too-common ailment in this world. And no, I don’t mean vision impairment. I don’t mean literally blindess. I mean the way we blind ourselves to suffering, blind ourselves to truth and blind ourselves to good paths that present themselves to us and that we ignore in favor of what feels better but is ultimately emptier.
More importantly, perhaps—and I harp on this because I so dislike hypocrisy, in myself or others—we blind ourselves to our personal failings and the blatant contradictions we foist on those around us. The lies about our motivations and the judgments we make of others while letting ourselves off the hook every time.
In politics and social commentary, I’ve watched left-wing folks cry that characters in movies or words that are part of our daily language are demeaning. (Really, are any gypsies really bitching that the phrase “to gyp” paints them as a thieving ethnic group? Does the “full retard” schpiel in Tropic Thunder really insult people with developmental disabilities? Must people who can’t walk or otherwise have a physical disability be called “differently” abled?). I’ve seen them cry that we must stop using such words and we must call for an end to such things in media. We must purge bad words and bad habits (like drinking and drug use) from all movies so that we don’t poison the minds of the young.
…Right after they’ve talked about the need for freedom of speech.
On the right-wing side, I see people crying out that Barack Obama will make us a socialist nation, stipping away our rights and our property and making us into mindless automatons that serve the state…all while ignoring the GOP’s handouts to the rich and to industries for so many years. While ignoring the fact that people in the armed forces have been forced to remain in service past their agreed-upon time and been forced to do longer tours of duty than they should. They’re fine with an authoritarian state, as long as the privileged and rich are calling the shots and the middle class, working class and poor mind their places.
Recently, right in my own backyard, a preacher is crying out that he’s been wronged, and his ministry taken from him. No matter that he was doing some sketchy things and engaging in shady behavior. No, he cries that he was wronged, and that he must pray for the strength to forgive. And as the same time he is doing this, he is calling out all of his “oppressors” for their sins and failings. Publicly. He is saying he’s being judged, though no one has said publicly why he was stripped of his duties, and then he goes and judges others while saying he will pray for the ability to forgive.
Sorry, God doesn’t give us the power to forgive. We are required to do that ourselves. It’s part of what God expects of us if we want the same kind of treatment from Him. If you are striking down people while praying for the ability to forgive, then you don’t want to forgive. Simple as that.
I’ve been guilty of defending behaviors that I engage in and I’m not sure I should be. I try to keep a balance of rational vs. spiritual and I try to maintain a balance between what I want and what is right, but I’ve been guilty of veering to one side or the other. When I do, I try to correct my position. I don’t stubbornly stick to the notion that I am right and everyone else is wrong.
We shouldn’t choose blindness. Because to be perfectly honest, even when we don’t like what we see, it’s better to go through life (temporally or spiritually) with our eyes wide open.